Rundown (9/16-9/22) I Welcome Our New Koopa Queen Overlord

Bowser Peach Best by MariTheLilimRemember how last week I was befuddled by the notion of Toadette obtaining a Royal Crown power up to become Peachette, as demonstrated in the reveal trailer for New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe?  While doing so, I also wondered what would happen if other characters got ahold of the item, though I never would have expected much to come from this.  Then somebody made a comic featuring Bowser using a Super Crown, and turning into “Bowsette”, which in turn sparked a slew of confusion and fan art.  I have made it no secret that I like TG stuff, and seeing something like this pop up and become a big deal is akin to a miniature Christmas for me, as it is rare that such a niche interest gets meaningful exposure.  Plus, the sheer quantity of art that has been made is downright absurd.  I thought that the Fatal Cutie Terry Bogard craze was the best I was ever going to get, but this makes that look like the Mario Odyssey possession craze, which was so upsettingly small!

Rearranging the continuity of these stories around a bit to better serve the structure of this Rundown, Capcom announced that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, which was previously released for 3DS and mobile, based off of what were originally GBA titles, will be heading to the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC in early 2019.  I have had a feeling that an announcement like this was going to happen for quite some time, and while I cannot say I am a big fan of this series, as I only played through the first title, I am very interested in giving this collection a go when it comes out.  I also quite like the presentation as seen in the trailer, which attempts to convert the sprite art from the original games into more detailed illustrations, and it looks surprisingly sharp.

Continuing on with the theme of compilations of sehr töll Japanese games, the Korean Game Ratings Board recently issued a rating for Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood.  As the title pretty plainly states, the game is 99% likely a re-release of 1993 and 1997 classics Castlevania Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, set to release for, at the very least, PS4, but likely the quartet of relevant systems.  As Symphony of the Night is very possibly my favorite game of all time, I will gladly check such a re-release out.  Now I just hope that the game comes out sooner than later, that Konami does this for the rest of the series, namely the GBA and DS games released from 2002 to 2008, and that they don’t play the loon and try to charge $60 for two 20+ year old games.

Speaking of games initially looked through a ratings board, developer Tri-Ace announced that their 2010 RPG Resonance of Fate would be receiving an HD re-release as Resonance of Fate 4K/HD Edition.  This being a fairly obscure title thanks to its tepid critical and commercial reception, I cannot say that I am too familiar with this title.  But from further research, I can tell that it is a retro futuristic dystopian sort of affair driven by a genuinely unique combat system that involves dashing and acrobatic feats mixed with gunplay that is handled through a mixture of real time and turn based combat, and in general is just… weird.  It also is generally not a very attractive looking game, with a very grey aesthetic that I highly doubt would benefit from the resolution bump, which is all this release will bring, based on Tri-Ace’s track record with their HD “remasters”. Regardless, this game will release digitally for PS4 and PC on October 18th.

Though, that is not the only niche 7th generation RPG to be getting an update, as Spike Chunsoft’s 2012 PSP title, Conception: Please Give Birth to My Child, has been pegged for an HD remaster by the name of Conception Plus: Please Give Birth To My Child, set to release on PS4 this winter and contain additional gameplay elements.  While I can and did react to such an announcement with confusion, in actuality it is simply an effort to coincide with the debut of an anime adaptation of the first game, set to begin this October.  In that respect, I guess it is all fine and sensible, though I must admit that I am curious if a western release is in the cards for this title, as the original PSP entry never left Japan, because it was a PSP game released in 2012.

Those last two picks not being odd enough, D3 Publisher and developer Tamsoft have announced Onechanbara Origin, a full remake of The Onechanbara 1 and 2, originally released as PS2 titles under the Simple 2000 line.  Because I guess Onechanbara has enough of a fan following to justify this sort of thing.  While Tamsoft is not really a developer known for its high quality between recent titles like MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune Vs. Zombies, Drive Girls, or School Girl/Zombie Hunter, they… sometimes can make good or decent titles, and for as crass and stupid as the Onechanbara series is, it did recently turn out a somewhat well received entry with Onechanbara Z2: Chaos.  Though, as always, quality will remain and loose and abstract concept until the game releases for Playstation 4 in 2019.

With the NES and Super Nintendo classics being such successes, due in no small part to Nintendo’s refusal to re-release their classic library in a convenient purchasable from on the Switch, Sony has chosen to emulate this approach of refusing to re-release their classic titles on modern hardware despite having every capability of doing so by announcing the Playstation Classic.  A $100 microsystem that comes with 20 built-in PS1 titles including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, R4 Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms, and also no power supply, because for some stupid reason that is permissible nowadays.

The system is set to release internationally on December 3rd, marking the 24th anniversary of the original system’s Japanese launch, and is sure to be a nice throwback for a lot of people who have fond memories of the system.  Though, part of me is becoming increasingly irritated at how Microsoft is the only company in this bloody generation who values backwards compatibility. Seriously, I get the paranoia of lost sales, but 1, shut up, and 2, you have an opportunity cost per every day you are not making older titles available, so you are effectively bleeding potential profits that, in the long run, will probably eclipse whatever you would get through these standalone compilations.

Continuing on with the subjects of Sony and hardware, the company has announced that the production of the Playstation Vita will cease in Japan sometime in 2019, after the system failed to resonate with the mass market, and people craving a handheld experience have effectively moved over to the Switch.  As I said after games production was announced to end in the west back in May, this was a sort of inevitability for the Vita.  It was a successful handheld in some respects, but Sony has made it clear that they view the system as something of a failure based on how they gave up marketing it years ago, and its demise was only a matter of when.  To reiterate something I said a few months back, fare thee well Vita, you meant life, but all things that live, must also die.

While hardware and physical assets, except for land anyways, must die after a set point of time, intangibles can basically live forever, thanks to the United States government, and even lost Intellectual Properties can find their way to the home, which has been the sort of modus operandi of THQ Nordic for the past few years.  Still hot off the heels of their acquisition of Kingdoms of Amalur, the company recently announced to have acquired the rights to the classic survival horror series Alone In The Dark and the mid-aughts RTS series Arc of War.  Both of which come from the fledgling and flailing company that adorns itself in the name of Atari, possibly as a way of liquidating such intangibles.  Especially as the company bumbles its way around with their branded Linux box, the Atari VCS.

2016’s VA-11 Hall-A was an impressive little visual novel about a rather delicious cyberpunk world populated with interesting characters and endearing moments that I honestly find myself wanting to revisit, if only because I feel as if I was screwed over on my first playthrough due to frustrating ending requirements.  After its release, several port announcements, and overall success, developers Sukeban games have announced a successor in the form of N1RV Ann-A, a title that takes the same general premise of its predecessor, that of a bartender serving drinks for various patrons in a dystopian cyberpunk world.  

But it changes up the setting from the standard dystopian city of the first game in favor of a more idyllic and tropical one with a story that, based on the official description, sounds to deal with more criminal activities, all while the game sees a distinct visual update to better resemble later PC-98 titles.  Meaning it is also at least 25% more anime looking As a fan of the original, I am naturally quite interested to see how the sequel fairs when it releases for PS, PS4, and Switch in 2020.

Capcom Vancouver, a Canadian company acquired by Capcom after growing paranoia over their ability to compete with western developers, has never been the most regarded subsidiary due to their handling of the Dead Rising series which is generally considered to have gotten worse with subsequent releases, reaching an all time sales and commercial low with the 2016 release of Dead Rising 4.  While a fifth entry in the series had been all but announced, Capcom has opted to terminate undisclosed projects at the studio, amounting to a loss of roughly 40 million dollars.  Only to then have the studio undergo a proper closure.  In the high cost world of AAA game production, it is very hard to justify the existence of a studio that does not perform, and given the success the Japanese side of Capcom has found as of late, and the lack of success by this western branch, I really cannot fault their decision.

On the subject of studio closures… Telltale has shut down.  Yes, the studio responsible for a plethora of episodic story and decision driven games over the years, such as The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands have been shut down.  The reasoning for this is currently unclear, aside from bankruptcy, but what is clear is the following:

Approximately 250 people were laid off with no severance, no warning, and with no insurance by the end of the month, including people who were hired as soon as a week ago  The Wolf Among Us Season 2 has been cancelled.  The Walking Dead: The Final Season has been cancelled, after only two episodes have been completed, even though the majority of the work on the game is already done.  Their Stranger Things title has been cancelled.  Only a skeleton crew of 25 people are currently at the company, tasked with creating a version of Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix, before the company is completely dead.

This is baffling, shocking, and honestly quite disheartening.  While I and many others have criticized Telltale in the past, they are a company that has seen great commercial and critical acclaim over the years, working with a lot of highly valuable intellectual properties and they ultimately came out with some very good titles in their tenure.  I mean, yes, there have been allegations of some toxic bullcrap over the years, but the studio was trying to change things around and turn over a new leaf, choosing to work on fewer projects, shifting to a new engine, and forming a deal with Netflix in hopes of bringing their existing titles to a whole new audience.  But now… I guess that is all over. I just hope that somebody an come on in and help preserve what the developer put out over the years, but other than that… yeah… this just sucks.  

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